Nov 15, 2007 4:56pm
Re: Grateful Dead reviews
Phil Lesh sang like a bird on these:
Tito's rap makes sense to me, but it takes guts to post a sophomoric review - and maybe someday that reviewer will get better at writing.
Exposure is the way to learn - maybe at first in a comforting zone of fellow tie die wearers.
Then, step up to the Tito and smell the Smokey - when you're ready.
Let me just throw in a few personal experiences - not these:
...yeah, our shit car broke down on the way to Jimi Hendrix, the early show at Berkeley not filmed as was the late show - and we did make the show;
Bob Weir did sing to me or I sang to him and he did a cross-eyed double-take, during Truckin' - I was stone cold sober;
my sister did show up synchronistically at a 1988 GD show;
ok ok enough of those stupid stories!
I hung out with Hank Harrison (the Dead's first manager) in 1978 cause he knew my father since 1963.
In fact my dad babysitted Courtney for Hank when she was like 1 years old.
Anyway, Hank said the musical genius in the group was Phil Lesh, and that the genius behind the genius was Steve Reich.
I don't agree neccessarily, but what Hank was talking about is like what someone else above pointed out, that Lesh had training in composition.
He may be the only guy in the group (the original band) that could read music like a Dick and Jane primer.
In my opinion, Lesh had a really good high range, until 1971 or so, but in 1965, 1968, on Box of Rain, maybe in 1970, he could really hit high notes, and that's who you hear in those early sloppy harmonies they did prior to 1970
- it's Phil singing back-ups and they don't stand out, but they're there.
It's him who did that blood-curdling scream on St. Stephen and other early songs.
For those screams alone I give him 5 stars - nyaaah!
Shit, he did the lead vocals for several early songs they did in 1965-1966, really sweet versions of Early Morning Rain, The Only Time Is Now, and what was it?
Some of those are on archive if you haven't heard them yet.
He lost or stopped using his high vocal range soon after 1970. Maybe it was whiskey or cigarettes?
Maybe they kidded him about his singing such high harmonies (and so he kinda cooled it or got a little self-conscious perhaps).
I did hear Garcia kidding about Lesh's singing those high notes, one night at the Fillmore West onstage, in 1970.
And while I think Lesh's bass playing is vastly over-praised in post 1972 reviews - I mean, I don't much hear those so-called "bombs", sorry, it's my ears not reponding to those frequencies maybe...
I really hear his bass playing on the complex psychedelic stuff the band was playing circa 1968 - 1969.
You know, Woody Guthrie said of Bob Dylan in 1962 or around then, that Bob Dylan was a good singer.
Guthrie did not say Bob was a good writer or poet.
That's kind of interesting.
(Someone above said, Dylan wasn't a great singer, comparable to Lesh's singing not being all that crucial, or words to that effect).
Yet Guthrie, one of America's great folk musician/ songwriter-singers, liked Dylan's voice, but not so much Dylan's songs like "Blowin' In The Wind".
So, what me worry?
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